5 Tips for Using the Phone Effectively While Wearing Hearing Aids
Especially in the workplace, the telephone is still one of the most important forms of communication. While email, instant messaging, and video conferencing can help a person who struggles with hearing, it is still vital to be able to communicate over the phone. Due to the poor quality of most phone speakers, this can be a real challenge. In order to communicate effectively in this vital way, we’re going to give you 5 tips for using the phone with hearing aids.
#1 Enunciate Clearly
This may seem like a very basic idea, but phone conversation is a two-way street. Even if you are the one speaking and not listening at a given time, you still are responsible for conveying your ideas clearly. Be sure to use a slightly slower pace, louder volume, and clear enunciation when you are on the phone. If the person on the other end of the phone is struggling to hear you, it may be necessary to clarify by spelling some words and even using a phonetic alphabet such as “A as in Alpha.”
#2 Use the Phrase “Can You Please Repeat That”
We get into the habit of just saying, “What?” if we don’t catch something, but you need to let the person on the other end of the phone know what you missed. It can be embarrassing if you only miss part of the sentence and then that’s the part the person repeats back to you. Instead, ask the person to repeat the first half of the sentence again, the second half, the whole thing, or whatever you happened to miss. Repeating things back in question form can help you to discern if you heard a person correctly.
#3 Make Phone Calls from a Quiet Location
Speaking on the phone can be hard enough without adding background noise to the equation. Close the door to your office, step into a quiet stairwell, or go somewhere else with a reduced noise level before making a call. If you have to pick up the phone in a noisy place, ask the person to hold on while you head somewhere quieter.
#4 Get a Landline with T-Coil
T-coil creates a clearer signal which can help improve the percentage of the conversation you can hear over the phone. If you have to get a phone with a speaker option, make sure it has good reviews for clarity and volume.
#5 Get a Smartphone that Pairs with Your Hearing Aid
Hearing aids and smartphones both come with technology that allows you to pair your devices and use your hearing aid sort of like you would a Bluetooth headset. With the voice coming through directly into your hearing aid, you’ll have a greatly improved ability to hear the person you are speaking with. Just don’t forget to hold the phone up to your head because you still need to speak into the microphone for the other person to hear you.
By using these 5 simple strategies, you should be able to maximize your ability to communicate via the phone. This can help you to reduce miscommunications and be more productive in the workplace.
Statistics and research mentioned are taken from the Better Hearing Institute. BHI is a not-for-profit corporation that educates the public about the neglected problem of hearing loss and what can be done about it. Find them at www.betterhearing.org.
Article Written By
Caleb Rhodes, HIS
Caleb Rhodes studied at Western Kentucky Technical and Community College and Parkland College in Champaign Illinois with a focus on hearing instrument sciences. He began assisting the hearing impaired in 2003 and is licensed as a hearing instrument specialist.